New rules to be handed down on Wednesday...
For months, AT&T and Verizon have been asking the FCC to ban cable operators from maintaining exclusive service contracts with the owners of apartment buildings, developments and MDUs (multiple dwelling units). When the phone company asks for something, the FCC delivers
The Federal Communications Commission, hoping to reduce the rising costs of cable television, is preparing to strike down thousands of contracts this week that gave individual cable companies exclusive rights to provide service to an apartment building, the agency’s chairman says.
With their usual flair
for leaks, the FCC's plans, to be clarified Wednesday, were known by the public weeks ago. Cable providers and landlords, meanwhile, argue that the FCC lacks the legal authority to intervene and that nothing is wrong with the current system. Cable operators have insisted
that the deals bring consumers lower prices.
Consumers stuck in such cable arrangements usually don't agree
. The smaller exclusive operators in particular have absolutely no competition and therefore no incentive to improve, so they frequently offer pricey services, few features and limited customer support.
Verizon, of course, is making a big push
this year into the MDU market with FiOS, and last we checked, they had some exclusive deals of their own. Such deals are sometimes extreme; one development in Virginia is locked into
an exclusive, decades-long service contract with an FTTH company residents say is unreliable and overpriced.